June 16, 2005

Michael Palin’s Himalayan journey

I never used to watch much TV as a kid, but there was one series I used to watch religiously, and it was Michael Palin’s Round the World in 80 days”. There are many celebrities who anchor travel shows but most of them feel like forced. I enjoy Palin’s travels as I feel that he is genuinely interested in the places and he has a great sense of humor. 
Palin has a new series called Himalaya”. He travels to some remote and end of the road places like this one

In the remote hill village of Longwa I can stand with one leg in India and the other in Myanmar, or Burma, as it used to be known. (I like the word Burma and take heart from the fact that Myanmar’s national anthem remains Gba mjay Bma’ – We Shall Love Burma for Ever’.) Longwa, a collection of palm-thatched huts, a tin-roofed church and a huge satellite dish, isn’t marked on any maps I have. It’s at the end of the line, on the very edge of Indian administration.

It’s also the home of the largest building made entirely from vegetation that I think I’ve ever seen. The chief’s hut, or in this case, mega-hut, is some 200 feet long and covered with a striking roof of palm leaves that sweeps down from an apex of 50 feet or more to within 3 feet of the ground.

The hut occupies the highest point of a 4700-foot (1430 m) ridge, on either side of which the land falls away in a series of crinkly valleys. Along the top runs the India-Myanmar border. In fact, it slices right down the middle of the chief’s hut, so he can walk between the two countries without ever leaving home.

China India Travels

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The incident with the red pencils One day I was going back home along the Shanxi Jie (in Chengdu). I saw these kids walking in front of me. Suddenly they stopped, made themselves